Contact centres offer benefits to businesses of all sizes, across a wide range of industries. Consumers are becoming increasingly demanding and customer service is paramount to the success of any business.
A recent survey by Salesforce found that 76% of respondents expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 67% of customers say their standards for customer experiences are higher than ever. A contact centre can help your business understand customer needs and improve customer experience.
Technology has advanced dramatically since call centres first appeared in the world of business. Today’s cloud-based contact centre solutions can help companies at all stages of growth to increase sales, cut costs and boost customer satisfaction.
What is a contact centre?
The terms “contact centre” and “call centre” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. The traditional call centre managed all incoming and outgoing calls for a business. A contact centre handles all forms of communication, including voice calls, emails, social media, chatbots, instant messaging and any other media used by the company.
Contact centres may be installed on physical servers in the workplace, or hosted in the cloud. Cloud-based systems are increasingly popular as they do not require expensive hardware and businesses are less vulnerable to technical failures. They are also easier to scale as the business grows and they provide greater data security.
Why does my business need one?
- Save money. Small businesses tend to operate with a skeletal staff and therefore lack the resources to respond to every phone call. Yet missed calls mean lost business and poor customer experience.
Hiring more staff to handle calls is a costly business. There’s not only annual salaries to consider, but the cost of advertising, recruiting, onboarding and training staff. Not to mention national insurance contributions, pension contributions and so on. Using contact centre software is a much more economical option. You will only pay for the time you use, whereas a member of staff would expect to be paid whether the calls are flowing or not.
- Increase sales. Contact centres place calls in a queue and keep the customer updated with their progress. This provides a much better customer experience than voicemail, which up to 80 per cent of callers choose not to use. Most consumers will endure a short wait before being connected, meaning fewer leads are lost and agents have more opportunities to sell.
Small businesses may rely on one or two members of staff to handle calls in-house, but during peak times, this may result in missed opportunities. A contact centre can provide overflow support by handling any calls that come through when all in-house staff are occupied.
- Improve credibility. If potential customers or partners receive a professional message when they call a company, they will see the business as established and reputable. Although people generally prefer not to wait, when they queue, they know the company is in demand, which instils trust.
One of the biggest challenges that small businesses and startups face is building a positive reputation and creating a brand customers trust. Therefore this is possibly one of the most important benefits of a contact centre for businesses in the early stages of growth.
- Boost customer service and edge out the competition. Contact centres can provide support 24/7 — a huge plus for customers and businesses. Many people cannot make calls during office hours due to work or other commitments. Offering a 24-hour service allows people the freedom to get in touch at a time that suits them. It also opens up opportunities for international business as customers located in different time zones will still receive a response even if they call when office staff are fast asleep.
Consumers want to feel that a company is available whenever they need support. Offering a 24-hour call handling service will help your small business get ahead of any competitors who don’t provide the same level of customer support.
- Gain useful insights into customer behaviour. Contact centres can gather valuable data that can help businesses to improve the service they offer. Are call waiting times too long? Does one sales agent have much higher close rates than others? This kind of information can inform call routing protocols and customer service strategies.
Call recording is a beneficial contact centre tool for monitoring performance and gaining insights into customer interactions. It can improve the effectiveness of performance management systems, identifying high-performing staff, so they are rewarded and better utilised. Under-performing individuals can be offered additional training and support.
Contact centres offer a host of benefits to small businesses. Cloud-based software represents a cost-effective solution that is quick and easy to set up, without the need for expensive hardware. Improve the service you offer and watch customers flood in and sales soar!